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WORLD IN BRIEF: Yemenis flee battle with al-Qaida

Yemenis flee battle with al-Qaida

SAN’A, Yemen — Thousands of people have fled a village in southern Yemen where security forces are laying siege to al-Qaida militants, a security official said Monday, signaling an escalation in the government’s U.S.-backed campaign to uproot the terror network’s local offshoot.

Government forces have moved into the village of Hawta with tanks and armored vehicles and 90 percent of its residents have fled, said Abdullah Baouda, police chief for the surrounding district.

One family fleeing Hawta said forces have shelled the village indiscriminately for the past two days to flush out the militants. Troops also fired on vehicles of residents fleeing the village and another nearby trouble spot, the city of Lawder, killing two civilians and wounding three others, according local government and medical officials.

France steps up pledge to combat poverty

UNITED NATIONS — The 10-year-old promise to lift the world’s poorest is unfulfilled and with world economies clawing back from the worst recession since World War II, the French president and others implored leaders on Monday not to return to their ‘‘old bad habits’’ of ignoring global poverty.

Nicolas Sarkozy, the French leader, was the first to accept U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s challenge for nations to deliver more resources to combat global poverty, ignorance and misery. He pledged to boost France’s annual $10 billion contribution to the world’s poorest people by 20 percent over the next three years. He urged other leaders to join him.

Officials: US drones kill 6 militants

MIR ALI, Pakistan — Suspected U.S. drones fired missiles at militant targets in northwestern Pakistan on Monday, killing six people in the 15th such attack this month, the most intense barrage since the strikes began in 2004, said intelligence officials.

U.S. officials do not publicly acknowledge firing the missiles, much less comment on who they are targeting. It is unclear why the attacks have spiked.

They target Pakistan’s border regions with Afghanistan — home to al-Qaida terrorists plotting attacks on the West, insurgents battling the Pakistani government as well as militants behind attacks on NATO troops in Afghanistan.